Network Science Minor

for Northeastern University students

The goal of the network science minor is to introduce students to the theories, tools, methods, and topics within the emerging and growing field of network science.

Network Science is a multi-disciplinary science that aims to discover and invent fundamentally new ways to measure, model, predict and visualize social, physical, and technological complex systems. It gives us another perspective of how to see the world around us. This new, powerful way of thinking is based on exploring interactions and relations between parts of our world, both tangible and intangible. With network science, we can better understand behaviors, belief formulation, group decision making, and complex processes in different aspects of everyday life. Applications of network science can be found in healthcare and public policy, disease spreading and control, drug design, human mobility, urban planning, sustainability of resources, public sector reform, and many other areas. With a minor in network science, you will develop a strong understanding of the theory and methods used in the field and, over time, generate your own contributions to this vibrant and growing body of knowledge.

Through the study of networks, along with our ability to identify and understand connections in the world, we build useful technical and analytical skills. The coursework in the network science minor will teach you to ask good questions, analyze complex situations, understand the emergence of complex behaviors, as well as train you in data mining, coding, and data visualization. Depending on the combination of courses you choose, you will also get the chance to develop and strengthen valuable skills in analytical modeling and statistical methods.

There are many careers where you can apply network science theory, methodologies, and skills. In industry, you can apply a network science mentality and data science skills to companies working in big data, machine learning, bioinformatics, software engineering, and statistics. In academia, network science can sharpen your competencies in mathematical sciences as well as help you understand complex phenomena and systems across multiple domains like health sciences, political science, communication, economics, physics, epidemiology, biology, computer science, etc.

Learning outcomes

  1. Knowledge of network science concepts and ability to understand connections and their effects in real-world networks
  2. Ability to reason about key properties of networks and what models to use to gain predictive knowledge from network data
  3. Ability to use data-analytic and other computer software techniques and packages to measure and model network properties in real-world network data
  4. Ability to apply network science concepts, models, and methodologies in specific scenarios dealing with real-world networks (e.g. model and predict an epidemic in a network

Network Science Core

Complete three of the following:

COMM 2105 | Social Networks
MATH 3545 |Introduction to Graph Theory
PHYS 1125 | Introduction to Network Science: From the Human Cell to Facebook
PHYS 5116 | Network Science 1

Data and Computational Methods

Complete one of the following:

CS 2500 | Fundamentals of Computer Science 1
DS 2000 and DS 2001 | Programming with Data and Data Science Programming Practicum
INSH 1500 | Digital Methods for Social Sciences and Humanities

Applied Topics

Complete one of the following:

COMM 2105 | Social Networks (if not taken as a core course)
EEMB 3555 | Networks and Natural Systems
INSH 2102 | Bostonography: The City through Data, Texts, Maps, and Networks
INSH 5304 | Social Network Analysis
MGMT 3435 | Social Networks and Organizations (if COMM 2105 not taken)
PHYS 5116 | Network Science 1 (if not taken as a core course)
PHYS 5126 | Contagion on Networks

GPA Requirement

Minimum 2.000 GPA required in all minor courses

Credit Requirement

20 hours required

Why learn Network Science?


You will get to see the world in a new perspective and become aware of complex processes and systems embedded in everyday life. You will also build skills you can apply in other courses and in multiple careers.

What are some examples of networks? 


Networks are all around us. Here are some examples of networks:

· Social Networks like friendship networks and collaborators networks, interlocking boards of directors, actors network, etc
· Biological Networks, like neural networks, metabolic networks, gene networks, human disease networks
· Ecological Networks like Food Webs
·Transportation Networks like Subway Networks, Road Networks, Airplane Networks
· Computer Networks, like the Internet 
· Financial Networks like Bank Networks, Investment Networks

How do I choose which minor courses to take and in what order?


Read the course descriptions in the NU catalog, talk with your advisors, and come chat with us as well. Ask Evelyn - she will be delighted to get to know you, explain the context of each course, and help you decide which course combination makes sense for your academic and career plans.

How do I get registered for the minor?


Just register for the courses you want to attend. The minor will automatically appear on your transcripts.

Are there opportunities to be more involved with network science study and research?


You can apply to do a co-op with us at the Network Science Institute (NetSI) via the NetSI Research Co-op program. For information ask Evelyn.

What can I do after I complete the minor?


You can apply for a NetSI Research Co-op, inquire about research assistantship opportunities at NetSI, apply to our doctoral program in Network Science, try to get a job where you can apply the network science methodologies and skills you picked up.

What are some examples of roles that Network Scientists are following?

· Data Scientist
· Machine Learning Engineer
· Bioinformatics Scientist
· Lead Epidemic Risk Modeler
· Research Scientist
· Chief Science Officer
· Postdoctoral researcher/fellow
· Academic Faculty

What are examples of companies, universities, and organizations that have hired network scientists?

· Amazon
· Twitter
· Google
· JPMorgan Chase & Co
· Data For Science
· TRM Labs
· S&P Global
· Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
· Liberty Mutual Insurance
· Harvard Medical School
· Brigham and Women's Hospital
· U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
· Independence Blue Cross
· Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc
· Digital Science
· US National Institutes of Health (NIH)
· Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
· Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
· New York Hall of Science
· National Museum of Mathematics
· Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences
· Research Labs & Centers at Universities


Evelyn Panagakou, PhD

Education, Outreach, and Diversity Coordinator